January 20th, 2008

Koufax

This Week in Baseball...

1955! Podres, Campanella, and Hoak CelebrateThere's a pair of sculptures outside of the Hall of Fame, a pitcher throwing to a catcher, set apart the regulation distance. The catcher is Roy Campanella, who is a member of the Hall, and the pitcher is Johnny Podres, who is not. Podres is there because he was the man who was on the mound when Brooklyn finally won a World Series. Podres, who passed away this week, was 23 at the time, and went on the be part of some terrific Dodger rotations with Koufax and Drysdale in the early sixties. In 1969, he started the first game the San Diego Padres ever played, and as near as I can tell, thus became the only man in history to ever start such a game for a team whose name sounded exactly like his own last name.

Later he was a pitching coach for a number of teams, including the Sox. (I have some photos of him, Ron Perranoski, Claude Osteen, and Sandy Koufax working with pitchers in Vero Beach during spring training in 1989. That's a heck of a pitching staff right there.) He was, by all accounts, a fun-loving guy, which apparently got him into trouble during the post-World Series victory party in '55.

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